Moving Beyond Wet Signatures in Construction Projects

Moving Beyond Wet Signatures in Construction Projects

As construction projects grow in size and complexity, involving multiple agencies and sub-contractors, paper approvals and sign-offs become a costly practice.

Time can be lost moving paper around to secure a “wet signature” in ink. There’s also the cost associated with moving volumes of paper – specifications, drawings, cut-sheets, etc. – along with approval forms, especially if many wet signatures are required from multiple agencies, spread over a diverse geographic area. The cost of shipping documents alone can be significant, but project delays often translate into penalty assessments, which could be staggering.

Collaborative construction management software was created to alleviate this problem. Virtually all project documents originate electronically these days, so why not keep them in that format? There’s no reason to print CAD drawings, specifications or digital photographs to paper any more, when they can easily be transmitted electronically for approval with a digital signature, and electronically archived as well, along with approval documents.

Even when a wet signature is still required for some reason, collaborative project management software can still speed things up – just scan the document with the signature, and upload it to the system for quick notification and distribution to the interested parties. The paper can follow along behind.

Another benefit is that Internet-based software allows project participants to see the approvals from anywhere they have Internet access – even from a tablet computer on the job site.

And with electronic approvals, events and sign-offs are logged, creating an audit trail and a clear view of any required outstanding approvals. At the end of a project, electronic archive of documents and approvals can support regulatory compliance audits.

The pace of software development, and the technology that exists today, is allowing many project managers to move beyond the wet signature, and focus on project completion – on time, and on budget.